Workers’ Rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established rights of workers.The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ensures the right of workers to a safe workplace. The act requires employers to take the necessary steps to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. To enable that end, the Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to set safety and health standards and to enforce those standards. OSHA also assists workers and employers by providing information, training and assistance to help assure that standards are met. Workers have a right to file complaints about violations of OSHA standards or about serious hazards that exist in their workplaces.

Occupational Safety and Health Act Rights Extensive

The rights to which the Occupational Safety and Health Act entitles workers include being able to ask OSHA to inspect their workplaces, and to do so without retaliation or discrimination from their employers. Workers are also advised to get training, in a language they understand, about hazards and the ways to prevent them. They also should learn about the OSHA standards which affect the jobs they are doing.  Workers also have a right to see any test results or medical records that may have been done as part of their employment.

OSHA Jurisdiction Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act

Most workers in the U.S. come under OSHA’s jurisdiction, including private sector employers and employees, state and local government workers, and federal government workers including the United States Postal Service. OSHA cannot fine the federal agencies, but does monitor then and respond to complaints by workers.

Not covered by the Occupational Safety and Health act are those who are self-employed; family members of farm employers who do not employ outside employees; and workplaces regulated by other federal agencies, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Coast Guard.

Employers are required to adhere to OSHA standards which provide for a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. If workers believe there are serious hazards or violations of OSHA standards, they can file a complaint and ask OSHA to inspect their workplace. The Act provides protection for workers who complain from any retaliation by making any demotion, termination, transfer or discrimination against a worker who has filed a complaint a violation for which they can be assessed penalties or sued in a court of law.

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their employees. OSHA provides the guidelines that employers must follow to make the workplace safe and healthy. If violations are found, the employers can be assessed large monetary penalties, if they do not bring the workplace up to compliance standards. Companies issued citations are allowed to reach settlements whereby they avoid penalties by correcting violations and taking measures to prevent future violations.

OSHA provides assistance in the form of publications, online information and training tools, standardized training for workers employers, a whistle blower protection program, and enforcement to insure workers rights and safety. For more information OSHA can be contacted at: 800-321-OSHA (6742) or .